A few days ago, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan mentioned that “the Armed Forces did not have any participation in the events of March 1, 2008”. From March 2, they started the protection of the important structures, chief structures which ensure our vitality, protection, and it can be clearly seen there that I have asked our population to maintain tolerance”.
Hence, let us try to remember what role the RA Armed Forces played in the March events of 2008 and to what extent Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan’s words are true (Ohanyan was then Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces).
In the afternoon of March 1, 2008, the RA Defense Minister instructed the Chief of Staff (Seyran Ohanyan) to bring in military equipment (military trucks with armed personnel) to the capital. Between 4pm and 5pm, it was deployed around the Republic Square, and the Defense Ministry equipment (1 BRDM) appeared next to the Government building.
On the same day, as it became dark, the caterpillar armored vehicles moved towards Yerevan (without even waiting for the order for a state of emergency). Even a column of infantry fighting vehicles started from Noyemberyan to Yerevan. Close to midnight, the military vehicles stopped near Clinic N8 on Baghramyan Street.
At around 2am on March 2, units of the armed forces, accompanied by the infantry fighting vehicles, already targeted the citizens on Mashtots-Amiryan intersection.
Seyran Ohanyan mentions that since March 2, the armed forces started the protection of those facilities which “ensure our vitality”. Meanwhile, the heavily armed military units protected such areas and “facilities” that could not fit in Mr. Ohanyan’s description in any way.
For instance, on March 2, the armored vehicles of the armed forces were deployed at the intersection of Mashtots, Paronyan and Lusavorich streets. And since then, and for 19 days, the units brought from Kapan and Goris guarded the Freedom Square, not even letting the citizens to walk in the square.
It is not surprising given the fact that on March 2, Seyran Ohanyan used the TV to call on people not to gather in groups.
P.S. We do not intend to go into details regarding various episodes of use of the armed forces during 2008 events. However, their use against the demonstrators started on March 1, and on March 2-20, the army not only participated in the protection of “chief vitality-ensuring facilities”, but also in the prevention of peaceful protests.